Benifca defender Ezequiel Garay has reportedly snubbed Barcelona in favour of a move to Manchester United, according to reports in Portugal.
Sir Alex Ferguson is a keen admirer of the Argentina international and fought off interest out of Camp Nou to persuade Garay to make a switch to Old Trafford, say Portuguese daily Record.
Reports in Spain this week claimed Barcelona saw the former Real Madrid defender as a possible long-term replacement for their injury-troubled captain, Carles Puyol.
However, it now appears as though the Blues and Blaugrana have failed to divert Garay away from the lure of Manchester United.
The report claims it was the interest of Barcelona that prompted Manchester United into acting more quickly to seal a deal.
Garay moved to Benfica in 2011 after an unsuccessful spell at Real Madrid but has regained his form brilliantly to become one of the more impressive central defenders in Europe this season.
Manchester United could see Garay as a long-term alternative to either Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic.
The former is in the latter stages of his career and the latter has been suffering from persistent injury problems for over a year now.
Were he to complete the switch to Manchester United, Garay would become the second Argentine defender to play for the Old Trafford club after Gabriel Heinze.